Professionals join forces to help farmers make and save money

Farmers are enduring some tough times at the moment, but there are also many exciting opportunities to be grabbed, according to accountant Old Mill.

It is joining together with specialist solicitors and banks to help farmers realise money-saving and business-generating possibilities, from land development and tax savings to Brexit and business structures.

“Commodity prices are improving, but it’s vital that farmers retain the whole benefit of better returns to come,” says Andrew Vickery, head of rural services at Old Mill. “It’s therefore important that they are aware of potential pitfalls and opportunities, and our aim is to help put their businesses on a secure and profitable footing going forward.”

Following its acquisition of Newton Abbot-based Farm Accounts Ltd, Old Mill has joined forces with Ashfords Solicitors and HSBC, to hold a free meeting for farmers in Devon next month. Entitled ‘Making money and keeping it’, the event will include professional advice on succession planning, land development, the implications of Brexit and maximising tax efficiencies.

“We have already held two meetings which have been very well received,” says Mr Vickery. “By bringing together a range of expertise, we are helping farmers to make tangible improvements to their businesses both now and in the future.”

Mr Vickery and his colleague Phil Kirkpatrick will be exploring ways to save tax, with an update on recent fiscal changes and a recap on efficient business structures. “We will also touch on succession planning and the importance of speaking to the next generation,” says Mr Kirkpatrick. “Although times are tough, that is no reason to avoid thinking about passing the business on.”

Jonathan Hickman from Ashfords will be discussing the new Residence Nil Rate Band which comes into effect in April 2017. “I will also be touching on the importance of Wills and passing the farm onto the next generation. If this fundamental issue is overlooked it can have disastrous consequences for those concerned,” he says. His colleague Gareth Pinwell will talk about ways to improve or protect planning potential for the landholding or business, including promoting land for development and safeguards to protect development.

Completing the line-up will be Paul Blundell from HSBC, who will discuss how farmers can build closer relationships with their bank, to enable stronger working ties in the challenging times as well as the good. “I will also be looking at the bank finances of an average farm and questioning whether commonly seen facility structures are properly suited to the volatile environment we work in,” he says. “Finally, I’ll give an early view of Brexit and the possible implications for farmers and food producers in the South West.”

The meeting – which will be held on Monday 5 December at Newton Abbot racecourse from 7.00pm – will conclude with a question and answer session, followed by a hot supper. To book your free place visit www.oldmillgroup.co.uk/events.

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